American veteran James Blake won the ATP Challenger in Winnetka, USA on Sunday with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-1 win over compatriot Bobby Reynolds. Blake was seeded second in the event while Reynolds was seeded fifth. Blake used his serve and forehand to devestating effect in the final.
Blake's win sees him move up 14 spots to no.
88 in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday and will help him earn a direct entry into the US Open, the year's final Grand Slam. The US Open begins in New York on August 29 and the rankings six weeks prior to that are used as the cut-off for determining entrants into the event.
31 year old Blake, a former world no. 4, has fallen in the rankings after struggling with several injuries in the last 18 months. He decided to step down to the Challenger circuit to gain some confidence and the results are paying off.
Winnetka is his second Challenger title in the last 3 months, after winning the Sarasota Challenger title in April. Many believe this will be Blake's final season on the tour but the American insists that he has made no decisions on when he will hang up his racket.